Sarah M. Buel article in UC Davis Law Review on witness tampering

An article entitled, “Putting Forfeiture to Work,” by Sarah M. Buel, of the Dian Halle Center for Family Justice, Sandra Day O’Conner College of Law, Arizona State University, was published in the UC Davis Law Review.

The article reports that, despite laws in all 50 states prohibiting witness tampering, perpetrators of intimate violence often use bribery, threats, stalking, assault, rape, murder and other forms of coercion to intimidate potential witnesses against them. One possible legal response is the doctrine of forfeiture by wrongdoing, through which a defendant who coerces, threatens, or harms a witness with the intention of preventing her testimony against him, forfeits the right to object to the admission of the witness’s hearsay statements at trial. Buel discusses what she describes as massive underenforcement of witness tampering laws and she argues for a more robust use of this forfeiture doctrine as an appropriate response to the intent-to-silence paradigm.

Complete article.